As they did after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook school shootings and the Charleston church massacre, comfort dogs are headed to the scene of an American tragedy — this time, the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.
About a dozen dogs from seven states were headed to Orlando yesterday to provide comfort and encouragement to the relatives of the dead, surviving victims, their families, first responders and a stunned community.
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured when what authorities are describing as a “home grown extremist” opened fire inside the crowded Pulse nightclub with a semi-automatic weapon.
Lutheran Church Charities, which began its comfort dog program in 2008, said a dozen dogs and 20 volunteers arrived in Orlando yesterday, where they will work with local hospitals and churches.
“They help people relax and calm down,” Tim Hetzner, president of the LCC Comfort Dogs, told ABC News.
“Your blood pressure goes down when you pet a dog, you feel more comfortable, and people end up talking,” Hetzner said. “They’re good listeners, they’re non-judgmental, they’re confidential.”
The program has more than 100 dogs in 23 states.
Yesterday, many of them, along with handlers and volunteers, sprang into action.
Gracie, a 5-year-old golden retriever in Davenport, Iowa, who was little more than a pup when she went to the Sandy Hook shootings that killed 26 in Newtown, Connecticut, was aboard a flight to Orlando out of Chicago.
“Her purpose is to share love and compassion with those who are suffering,” Jane Marsh-Johnson, one of Gracie’s handlers, told News 10.
“The dogs do more for those suffering than human beings can do.”
Sasha, a 19-month-old golden retriever left Hilton Head Island with her handlers, Brenda and Phil Burden. It was Sasha’s first comfort mission, though the Burdens brought comfort dogs to Oregon last year after a gunman killed nine people at Umpqua Community College.
The Burdens told the Island Packet they will likely visit with the first responders who are dealing with the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in American history.
Other dogs were responding from Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Nebraska and Texas.
While in Orlando, they will be based in Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Orlando.
Travel for the dogs and volunteers is funded by donations.
(Photos: At top, a comfort dog at Sandy Hook, by Allison Joyce / New York Daily News; below, Gracie, a comfort dog from Iowa / Lutheran Church Charities)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 14th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, church, comfort dogs, dog, dogs, families, first responders, florida, golden retrievers, gracie, hospital, lutheran church charities, mass shootings, orlando, pets, pulse, sasha, shootings, survivors, victims
Officials in Torrelodones, a town outside Spain’s capital of Madrid, are scratching their heads after someone made off with a giant inflatable replica of dog poop — a municipally-sanctioned artwork (and we use the term loosely) intended to remind citizens to pick up after their dogs.
The victim, when on display, is brown, nearly 10 feet high, and weighs about 65 pounds.
Once the air is let out, it is small enough to be packed in a carrying case, which is the condition it was in when someone walked off with it.
The town says it will cost more than $2,700 to replace.
Speaking to the ABC newspaper, a town official said staff were shocked and perplexed by the theft, and a replacement excrement was already on order because “we know that the campaign has been a great success.”
No word on how long it may take for that to come to pass.
Nor is there any mention of a ransom note being sent by those who pinched it.
The inflatable poop is one of several symbols being used in the municipality’s “Lay an egg” campaign. Torrelodones has also placed concrete dog poops around town bearing the message “This is a big blockage to living together. If you have a dog, help us.”
Should an arrest be made, we think the suspect would be able to put on a pretty good defense.
After all, he or she was only doing — albeit on a far larger scale — what the campaign urges.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 10th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, campaign, clean, display, dog, dogs, droppings, excrement, exhibit, feces, giant, gigantic, inflatable, investigation, madrid, pets, pick-up, poop, replica, spain, stolen, stolen turd, torrelodones, town, turd
Given America’s continuing decline, and all the threats posed by outsiders who want to creep into our country — and likely into our homes — you just can’t be too careful nowadays.
To make America great again, it’s a good idea to have — at least until that wall gets built and we all live in gated communities — a home security system.
If not for one of those, this young offender — and we can only guess from his name that he is French — might never have been identified.
His name is Josh Breaux.
And he was stealing hugs.
Josh, who looks to be no older than 10, was regularly violating the sanctity of a woman’s home in Pierre Part, Louisiana — brazenly entering her garage, hugging her dog Dutchess and making a speedy getaway.
In this surveillance video, he accomplishes his entire mission in about 15 seconds.
Proving that love can be spread as quickly as hate.
Homeowner Hollie Mallet — far more touched by the display than she was alarmed — shared the video on her Facebook page in hopes of learning the boy’s identity.
She wanted to let him know he was welcome to hang around a little longer.
“Every now and then when he rides his bike he will quickly come and love on my dog or play fetch real quick, but always leaves quick like he doesn’t know if he should be here!” Mallet wrote. “I’d like to tell him he’s welcome to stay and play, she loves the attention!”
Through the post, Mallet learned of Josh’s identity, and she has been conversing with his mother, Ginger Breaux.
“He’s taken a few pics with Dutchess, played fetch, laid in the yard with her in the shade, runs around the yard with her or just a quick stop to pet her and say hi,” Breaux told The Dodo.
“Josh talks about your dog all the time!” Breaux wrote in a comment to Mallet. “Every time we pass he looks to see if she was sitting where he could see her. Just didn’t know he was doing things like this.”
“Hope this sweet little boy Josh continues to come play and love up on Dutchess!” Mallet responded. “A dog is a friend for life!”
Josh, of course, already knows that.
His dog Bella, who the family had since Josh was 2, passed away last year.
“Things have been busy and Josh is active with after school activities so we have not jumped back into taking on the responsibility of starting all over again with a new pup quite yet,” his mother wrote.
“It will happen though.”
I’m sure it will. In a country where love trumps hate, it just has to.
(Photo: Courtesy of Ginger Breaux)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, breaux, dog, dogs, dutchess, facebook, garage, hate, hollie mallet, hug, hugs, identity, josh, louisiana, love, pets, pierre part, security, stealing, stolen, surveillance, trespassing, video
An off-duty police officer has been charged with punching a 71-year-old woman in the face during an argument that began when he objected to her Yorkshire terrier riding the elevator.
Officer Vladimir Radionov, 46, is accused of striking the woman Sunday morning after she tried to bring her 9-pound Yorkshire terrier onto the elevator of their building in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach.
“I think if I didn’t run away, he would kill me,” Janet Goldschmidt told The New York Post. “He was so angry.”
Radionov, a New York City police officer, was charged with second degree assault.
Pets are only allowed in the building’s service elevator, but Goldschmidt says she asked him if he’d be willing to let them ride in the passenger elevator with him.
“He says, ‘Take your motherf–king dog out of the elevator. I don’t want to go up with your f–king dirty dog,'” she said.
“He came at me like a bull. He just attacked me … He said ‘No’ and started punching me … I throw a cup of coffee, thinking this is going to stop him but it doesn’t. He punches me in the back. He grabs me and pulls me out like I am a child.”
The Post reported that sources who had seen the elevator surveillance video said it shows Radionov dragging her out of the elevator, then pushing her when she tries to get back in.
At one point, Goldschmidt fell, injuring her tailbone and hitting the back of her head. She also scraped her arm during the fall, sources told The Post. She was taken to Coney Island Hospital for treatment.
Goldschmidt reported the incident to the building superintendent and police.
After his arrest, Radionov was freed on $5,000 bail, but an order of protection was issued requiring him to stay away from the building in which he also resides.
“I am so surprised. He is a police officer,” Goldschmidt said. “Police officers are supposed to keep us safe. Instead, he was acting like a criminal.”
(Photos: By Gabriella Bass / New York Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alvick, animals, argument, assault, brighton beach, brooklyn, charged, dog, dogs, elevator, janet goldschmidt, law enforcement, new york, nypd, off duty, officer, pets, police, rules, vladimir radionov, yorkshire terrier
This new ad campaign for a dog food company in Brazil is neither warm nor fuzzy.
Instead, it’s a little macabre — and aimed at persuading you that you should feed your pooch Special Dog brand dog food because, otherwise, he might share your secrets with the world.
In the spot above, for example, a Great Dane confronts his owner in bondage gear.
And in the one below, a Pomeranian catches his owner adding some of her deceased husband’s ashes to her tea.
And in what’s probably the most distasteful one of all, a pug becomes even more bug-eyed after he sees his owner sniffing his own fingers after engaging in some groin related couch behavior.
The message is your dog sees all, and knows all, so you better treat him right.
Kinda gross. Kinda funny. Not the kind of information a dog food customer is looking for, but you must admit they kind of stick in your head.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 6th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertising, animals, behavior, brazil, commercials, dog, dog food, dogs, dogs in advertising, dogs in commercials, habits, humans, kinky, marketing, pets, special dog, what the dog knows, woof in advertising, woof!
Poor things, they never had a chance.
Even the so-called “indestructable” ones would end up torn and in tatters — victims of the enthusiastic canines to whom they were gifted.
The project began out of frustration, Lahti, of Manassas, says.
“Every cute (expensive) toy I brought home for my dogs ended in a mangled mess destined for the landfill,” Lahti wrote in a photo essay for The Washington Post. “I decided to photograph the toys in their pristine shape, then again months later, observing this savage demolition with the scrutiny of an anthropologist.”
She started taking before and after photos of toys she bought her own dogs, Boston terriers.
“I started the project in late 2013 after noticing how grotesque a green stuffed snake had become. I photographed the chewed-up snake, but felt in order to really understand how disgusting it was, the viewer had to see how cute it was in the beginning”
Other dogs were later recruited into the project and presented with new toys to have their way with.
“It’s funny — it seems all of the dogs have their own objectives when playing with the toys, she said in an interview the American Society of Media Photographers.
“One of my dogs, Annie, will suck on a toy for hours as if it’s a pacifier. Murray, my senior, removes the eyes before he de-stuffs it. A Newfoundland buried his for a few weeks while another snuggled with it for a month before systemically tearing it to shreds. Two of the others ripped theirs apart immediately then had no more interest in them.
“I have not analyzed what any of this means about their personalities but it was interesting to see how different their methods were.”
You can see more of the mangled toys on Lahti’s website
(Photos by Hannele Lahti, from the Washington Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 3rd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, before and after, chewed, destroyed, dog, dog photographer, dog toys, dogs, hannele lahti, mangled, pets, photographer, photography, photos, toys
A little dog has made a big difference for a five-year-old boy with dwarfism.
It was a veterinarian friend who suggested to Quaden Bayles’ mother that their family take a homeless Shih Tzu named Buddy into their home in Brisbane, Australia.
Buddy, 9, has the same condition as Quaden — achondroplasia.
“I couldn’t believe it when she said she had a rescue dog that had achondroplasia,” Quaden’s mother, Yarraka Bayles, told the Daily Mail. “I had no idea the condition affects animals too.”
For years, Quaden Bayles was teased and bullied and, despite receiving counseling, he refused to talk about his condition, or to let any one else in his family mention it, either.
“It’s affected him to the point where he needs counseling because he’s said he wishes he was dead,” his mother said.
Then a vet friend contacted her to say she had a dog she was caring for on behalf of Animal Rescue Qld (ARQ) that her son should meet.
“As soon as Quaden saw Buddy, the bond was instant,” Bayles said.
“Quaden now proudly accepts that he’s got dwarfism, because Buddy’s given him that reason to think that it’s cool,” said his mother. “So he tells everyone, ‘My dog has dwarfism like me,’ and it’s the first time we’ve ever, in Quaden’s five years of life, heard him say the word, because we are not allowed to say dwarfism or achondroplasia.”
“… They really are in this journey together and I hope their story helps other people realize it’s cool to be small.”
Quaden suffers from numerous health problems and has had eight surgeries already. He is increasingly relying on a wheelchair because of his weak muscle tone and nerve damage. He is scheduled to have more surgery soon, but Bayles said the hospital has a pet area so Quaden will be able to keep Buddy close during the process.
Buddy has health issues too and the family has to give him medication every day for arthritis – a common complaint with achondroplasia sufferers.
Quaden’s mother now works to raise awareness of the condition that affects 1 in every 30,000 children born in world. She has set up a support group for families with children who have dwarfism called Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism.
Buddy serves as the group’s mascot.
(Photos courtesy of the Bayles family)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: achondroplasia, animals, australia, bond, brisbane, buddy, difference, dog, dogs, dwarfism, mascot, outlook, pets, quaden, quaden bayles, rescue dog, shih-tzu, small, stand tall 4 dwarfism